Home > Newspaper Articles > 1976 > August 3, 1976. Fayetteville, NC.

CONCERT DATE: August 3, 1976. Fayetteville, NC.

Shake, Rattle and Roly Poly
by Nancy Cain Schmitt
The Fayetteville Observer
August 4, 1976.

The king came , and his followers greeted him with screams and tears.

It didn't matter much that the heart throb of the late 1950s and early 1960s is now 40 years old.

The fact that the slender figure now has a stomach proluding over the belt of his flashy costume and that his shaggy hair is thinning on the crown was of little significance.

It didn't matter at all for he was, and still is, the king of rock and roll, straight from an era he created.

They came, nearly 7,000 strong, fom all over the eastern part of the country - from North Carolina and as far away as Columbia, SC.

Mostly they were women, the ones that were teenagers when he brought a heart throb with the mere sound of his voice. Elvis Presley!

Even the name brought down a special magic on the Memorial Arena where he performed the first of three concerts Tuesday night.

For one hour and 15 minutes Elvis charmed the fans - the ones that camped out for days just to buy one of the 21,000 tickets.

He sang 12 tunes familiar and dear to the heart of any Presley fan. He offered chatter that was usually lost when his southern drawl failed to make the proper mix with the arena's sound system.

Each glance, word, song brought screams and applause from the audience that not only included teenagers of yesteryear but those of today as well as members of the older generation. Some came out of curiosity just to see if the king still had that special charisma.

Others came to relive those wonderful, carefree days when the Vietnam War was something far away and the sound of "Elvis the Pelvis" was where it was happening.

Elvis may be 40 years old, but then those members of the audience weren't teenagers anymore either. Protruding stomachs and thinning hair comes as a part of nature, and for themthe king still belonged to their generation.

They weren't going to criticize him or laugh at him or do anthing be young again. For many it had been an 18-year wait to see Elvis in person.

When "Jailhouse Rock" and "Hound Dog" were wailed out the hips and legs moved, but a lot of the mobility was gone. Elvis just didn't bump and grind like he used to do. But no one seemed to care.

Just one look, one bump, one saying leg brought screams of delight and rush to the stage by middle-aged women who had delusions of being 16 once again.

Elvis played to them with perspiration damp scarves and an occasional kiss. He accepted in return flowers, a cake, a puppet and a toy monkey that played the cymbals, all gifts from adoring fans.

Mostly the fans were attentative. The rushes to the stage were spontaneous and often over as quickly as they began.

Sixteen deputies kept them under control, suffering only a ripped-off necktie and two bumps on the head for their services.

Elvis offered variety - rock, ballads and mixed it up a bit with "Dixie" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" sung only as the king could."

Whether Elvis can sing with the same quality of other superstarts seemed immaterial. One of his backup men performed "Danny Boy" and exhibited a voice that did circles around Elvis.

But Elvis is the star. It's a feeling that surrounds him. It's a fact that few people will despute.

At 40 years of age Elvis Presley earned upwards to $75,000 for one night. That makes him still the tops.

For his warm-up acts, Presley presented gospel music with J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, contemporary sounds with the Sweet Inspiration and comedy with Jack Cahane. Backup music came from Joe Guercio and the Hot Hilton Horns straight from Las Vegas.

Elvis ended the show with the ballad "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You".

Six bodyguards escorted him off the stage, and he was whisked away from the building before the fans could get a glimpse.

A Has been? Not yet for Elvis Presley. He stills packs them in and leaves them exhausted. Only a little bit of the Presley magic is gone.

"For a country guy, this is one helluva an experience," one spectator commented.

And it was.

Courtesy of Geoffrey McDonnel